The Letter to the Romans



25. Free From the Law of Sin and Death


Romans 8:1-8,

1. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

2. because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

3. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,

4. in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

5. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

6. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

7. the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.

8. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.


Paul has summarized the dilemma in which a person finds himself after having his spirit awakened by the Holy Spirit. The law convicts him in a new and powerful way, and he realizes that he is deeply and intractably sinful. In fact, he realizes that he is powerless to stop sinning even when he knows he is tempted and wishes not to sin. In chapter eight Paul explains the answer to this conundrum of being unable to prevent sin in one's life while simultaneously becoming aware of what it is.

1. Paul uses the word "law" in several different ways in this book. Look up the following passages to determine the various meanings he has in mind, and determine what meaning he gives "law" in verse 2. (Romans 2:17-20; 9:31; 10:3-5; 3:21b; 3:19; 3:27)


2. Paul ends the previous chapter with the statement that in his mind he is a slave to God's law, but in his sinful flesh he is a slave to the law of sin. "Therefore," he begins chapter 8, "there is now no condemnation" for those in Christ because the "law of the Spirit of life" has freed him from "the law of sin and death." Since the battle between sin and conviction continues to rage in a spiritually awakened person, how can there be no condemnation? (see verses 34, 38-39; 6:1-4, 11, 14; 3:23-26; Colossians 2:13-15)


3. What does Paul mean in verse three when he says the law was powerless because it "was weakened by the sinful nature"(or flesh)? (see Hebrews 7:18; 10:1-4; Romans 7:18-19; 2:23-24; Galatians 3:21-23; Colossians 2:16-17; 20-23)


4. The references to "sinful nature" in verse 2 and to "sinful man" in verses 3, 5, 6, 9, and 12 might be better interpreted "flesh". Verse three would then read, God sent his "Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us"People debate whether or not the clause "he condemned sin in the flesh" refers to man's flesh or to Christ's. It seems more consistent with Paul's teaching to interpret this passage to mean He condemned sin in his own human (but not sinful) flesh. How did Jesus condemn sin in his own human flesh? (see Hebrews 2:14-15, 17; 10:19-22; 27-28; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; 21)


5. How does Christ's condemnation of sin in the flesh cause the "righteous requirements of the law" to be "fully met in us"? (see John 3:18; Romans 4:22-25; 1 Corinthians 1:28-30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26-28; 8:14; 1 Peter 1:3-5)


6. Verse 5 describes two mind-sets: the one of the flesh, and that controlled by the Spirit. The sinful nature is defined (verses 5-8) by death, hostility to God, insubordination, and unacceptability to God. What does it mean, as it says in verse 5, "the mind of sinful man is death"? (see Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:7-8; Galatians 5:19-21; James 1:13-15)


7. What are the marks of a person who is hostile to God? (see Isaiah 59:2; James 4:4; James 2:15-16; 1 John 2:15-17; John 15:18-19)


8. What does it mean to be insubordinate toward God? (see Exodus 32:1-6; Matthew 23:13-32; Romans 1:18-19, 21; 24-32; Ephesians 4:17-18; Galatians 6:7-10; Colossians 3:5-8; 1 Peter 4:3)


9. Why cannot those who are controlled by the flesh please God, and what does that mean for the person so controlled? (see: Proverbs 16:4; Ezekiel 22:29-31; Romans 1:18-20; 2:5-6; 9:22; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)


10. What does it mean to live by the Spirit? (see verses 9, 13-15; Galatians 5:16, 18, 22-25; 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:5-6; 15:5-15)


11. In what ways are you hostile, insubordinate, or displeasing to God?


12. In what areas of your life is God confronting you with the truth about yourself, asking you to surrender to him and to bring those things into submission to His Spirit? Ask God to give you His courage and strength to obey the Spirit and to surrender to Him the strongholds of control, addiction, and self-indulgence in your life.

Copyright (c) 2004 Graphics Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted September 18, 2004.
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